Medieval Europe 814-1450: Theater - Research Article from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras

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The Development of Liturgical Drama

The Tradition of Theatricality.

The liturgy of the medieval church was essentially theatrical, as was the festive cycle of the Christian year. But at certain times during that year, this theatricality took on a special character. At Easter, and on the days leading up to its celebration of Christ's Passion ("suffering") and Resurrection, and again at the Christmas season, churches throughout Europe provided the settings for musical dramatizations of scenes from the gospels. It is hard to know when these liturgical plays were first performed, because the oldest manuscripts that record them were copied after the Carolingian Renaissance had made the preservation of texts a high priority. Often, the late dates of manuscripts have been taken to indicate that medieval drama itself was a late invention—that in order for there to be a play, there must be a...

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This section contains 2,656 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1450: Theater Encyclopedia Article
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Medieval Europe 814-1450: Theater from Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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